Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Until We become Normal and Comonplace (updates)

Dont you just love the correlation?

Re Miss Universe
Yes I shouldn’t be caught up about beauty queens and judging women on looks, but I am no fool, while those who protest loudest still reap benefits of being seen as the beauty norm (hence they can afford to pooh pooh beauty pagents etc aggresively) those of us who don’t get the limelight need to be like the wise old servant in the gospels, shoring up our circumstances anyway we can 

Blog post continues:
I explained to a colleague recently that when people first see or come into contact with you as a black woman they may have one or two likely responses but likely they will respond negatively if they haven’t had the experience of confronting a black woman in the situation before. As black women many of us are still entering ’first’ situations because we tend to or have tended to self-segregate more than black men and confine ourselves to black spaces and pasttimes (so people are not used to dealing with bw in untypical situations). If people haven’t experienced black woman in a certain situation trust me, the more likely reaction you will get will be discomfort, you will see it in their faces and reactions whcih often speaks to an underlying race issue or insecurity that is unresolved. most times this will result in them trying to get rid of the source of this discomfort, and you guessed it they might then try to 'eject' you from the situation and they will get about doing this without even being aware that this is what they are doing and indeed without diagnosing that this is because of a racial animus.

Once you stand your ground or are allowed to be in place for sometime, you will see how soon your being around or being there ‘normalizes’. One bw I know had a very bad experience when she was called to ‘head’ a certain project. I told her to hang in there and pretend she didn’t even notice that folk were uncomfortable and didn’t know how to respond to her and her being there. Very soon people settled into their little camps.

Yes there were those who couldn’t deal and did their little sabotaging things here and there, thankfully they were not in positions of great power and ultimately she had a number of important allies whose sense of fairness (this is one of the most useful and salient aspects of the white identity which is more important to appeal to than ‘anti-racism,’ because most whites are desperate to see themselves as fair-minded people even while they may be too nervy to comfront race and racism) didn’t allow them to side with all sorts of racist shenanigans (though very few were able to name the going ons for what it truly was ie racism, they just felt they needed to give the new person a fair shake).

Pretending you don’t know what is going on while silently doing your thing is one of the best moves a bw can make. Trust me, give things a chance to ‘settle,’ don’t feel you have to respond to peoples attitudes. Allow for folks to even cancel each other out by being in team this and team the other, while you burrow down and attend to the business of getting yourself up to speed on your job, project, team etc.

Speaking also about how white people do not really or are not able to suss racist animus or identify it as a factor in a situation, I want black women to realize this very important truth; white women in particular do not even understand or know that they are being racist to black women in many of those work/social situations that you all talk about no matter how incredulous this may sound!

Some of you think they know what they are doing, the truth is some might have an oblique understanding that race has something to do with how they are responding to this black person but often a defense mechanism will kick in (remember the aim of defence mechanisms is to shield one from their own anxiety producing/unacceptable emotions and impulses and what is more unacceptable to the self image of a white person than the notion that they are really racists!) and they will latch unto or even manufacture another 'reason' for their response to you to eg they might say you have an 'attitude' (and you dont necessarily need to have one, you could be the nicest person on earth but they will project the readily available seterotype of bw unto you and rarely will this be challenged because bw are deemed to be so, as well as bw themselves reinforce the 'big and bad' attitude almost to the level of an identity).
There is a certain level of lack of self awareness that goes with living as a privileged being (a white person), in addition being a ’protected,’ unchallenged privileged being (I am talking white womanhood) means even a greater level of lack of self-awareness! This is why white men in my calculations are more aware and can own that they could be behaving in a racist manner (and thus are able to be reasoned with and can be pulled back), as opposed to white women whose very comon reaction is to burst into incredulous tears when it is pointed out.
You very rarely win if you directly confront a white woman about her racist reactions to you for the above and other reasons....
To be contd
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LL2 said...

Thank you for addressing the importance of Miss Angola's win for the overall image of black women. You are right about some people being uncomfortable with black women, particularly those who do not fit the stereotype. The way some have reacted to Miss Angola's win really has been surprising to me. I guess I have really tuned out the negativity toward black women in recent years. There have been rumors that her parents are actually from Cuba or Cape Verde. It is as if some people have difficulty accepting that a woman from the continent of Africa could actually be beautiful, elegant and feminine. Some say she should not have won because she used an interpreter. Women from the Latin American countries often tend to use interpreters, why is it an issue now? There were even rumors that she might lose her crown. One would think that this is the first time that a black woman has won the pageant. But since I have been watching two black-identified women have won: Miss Trinidad and Tobago in 1998 and my favorite Miss Botswana in 1999. So I don't get the upset. Maybe consciously or subconsciously, they are surprised to discover that the plan to destroy the femininity of darker-skinned women has been unsuccessful.

Despite the negativity, I'm very inspired by the way that the people of Brazil supported Miss Angola, which was instrumental in her winning,(they could have ignored her amazing attributes like they have done to previous black contestants, but they could not ignore the strong support of the audience and fans on the internet). Coincidentally, it was the strong audience support in Trinidad and Tobago that enabled Miss Botswana to win the Miss Universe title in 1999.

Anonymous said...

Ahh, here we are- in the Promised Land (discussions!). The call to leave the dried up waste land has been made…and made…and made. Until now we have people right at the edge of the Promised Land who won’t enter because they have no idea how to survive in it! Yep, it’s a jungle. Full of ripe juice fruits, fresh streams and cool resting places…but then there are those other creatures. The ones making noises at night-who are they?…and wait I’ve seen that “kind” before, but what the heck is that!

I’ve got a lot I’ve wanted to share in this type venture ( I would have preferred it to be private)…and have been needing some good info as well!
Thanks Halima!


Halima said...

So I don't get the upset. Maybe consciously or subconsciously, they are surprised to discover that the plan to destroy the femininity of darker-skinned women has been unsuccessful.

LL2 you raised a very important question about why now and why this black miss universe gets people riding hard to take the crown off her.

I had to watch many youtube clips and read pages of comments to begin to suss it out. I think I have something of an answer and I am hoping I will have a bit of time to put up an article re my thoughts!

TranscendentWoman said...

"I had to watch many youtube clips and read pages of comments to begin to suss it out. I think I have something of an answer and I am hoping I will have a bit of time to put up an article re my thoughts!"

I look forward to reading that article!

Jacque said...

UMMMMMMM EXCUSE ME! She still looks like a white girl with a beautiful...nonfake tan. She's brown and beautiful but hers is still an "accepted" beauty. So I will consider the lack of appreciation for black beauty to be in full stride for now.I am happy for her win and I congratulate her. But all us brown ladies with NATURAL hair, healthy bodies and minds are ALSO beautiful. I'd like to see that crown on some locks or a beautiful afro someday


Lara said...

Everytime something good or outside of the norm happens to a black woman, non- black haters usually prop up saying this:
She does not deserve it;
She is not beautiful enough.

Now,on the other hand, black haters always say this:

She is not black enough.
She looks white.
She has an "accepted" beauty;
or the height of the ridiculous, she is not really black.

Lorrnae said...

Just to add, I think that if a BW is painted into a corner by a White woman, in addition with making allies with the WM in higher positions she should try the "cry first" strategy.

July 11th, 2011 @ 1:51 AM
Hmph. White women’s tears? Yeah I can play that game too. Not gonna lie, i started using it to my advantage to and it works. As soon as a WW starts in with her game of trying to push me in a corner, I’ll cry in a heartbeat! BW need to start beating these kinds of WW at their own game. i will cry in a HOT SECOND (usually before they get the chance to) and usually if a White male is involved, they get a little confused on how to react b/c most BW are trying to play tough and stand their ground instead of letting someone else rescue them. Usually the BW is acting tough and its the White girl crying. but if you too start playing the Damsel in Distress, you will often get a pass. LOL I know that is bad advice, but it does work for me….

So when a WW starts to bully you, START CRYING and acting like a damsel in distress. They HATE that b/c then they can’t try to turn the tables and say you are the aggresor. I’m telling you it works everytime. Play the gentle weak one being picked on, and people will come to your rescue. LOL

Also, I just found out what it is about women and tears that drives men to want to rescue them and protect them. WW seem to have gotten the memo. I was on a male dominated board in which women and crying came up. Here are just some quotes.
male #1
“Monumental truth. Notice how much more attractive a girl is when she’s crying with open eyes”
“it is hot and boner-inducing” (referring to seeing her cry)
Another guy (Male #2) chimes in and asks:
“Why is it a turn-on to see a girl cry?”
Masle #1 responds:
“episodes of profuse nose-running and uncontrollable sobbing, many women will look younger and more vulnerable when they cry.
Cheeks flushed, eyes glistening, mouth open with labored breathing.”
There you have it sistas. take notes and use to your advantage too!

LL2 said...

@Halima, I look forward that article.
I always learn something new from you. Thank you for your amazing insight, brilliance, and commitment to black women's issues.

@Jacque, I understand your point. I have natural hair as well and I don't like the prejudice people with natural hair have to deal with at all. However, criticizing Miss Angola's looks is not the answer. Black people have always had a diversity of physical features even on the continent of Africa before the arrival of the Europeans. East Africans tend to look different than West Africans, the light-brown skinned and very tiny Khoisan people of southern Africa look different from everyone else. There is not one way to look "Black". Besides, would you like someone describing your looks as a white girl with a beautiful nonfake tan? Why make another black woman feel that way? She seems very proud of her race and cultural heritage and that is the most important thing, not her physical features.

Out of Darkness said...

I knew that was one of the ways Asian women were able to break into the dating game with white men, by beating white women at their own game with their submission " cater to you" attitude. Damsel in distress is ww greatest feminine card and black women unknowingly gave more power to that card trying to always fight back all the time.

The ww couldn't say that the Asian girl attacked her because when she plays damsel the asian girl played a damsel too when she's submissive asian women are submissive as well. On another board some black women were arguing about this. The whole concept of doing what other women do to do well in dating. Some of them believe that black women shouldn't have to act like other women to get a guy. That topic was describing how black women could learn about the art of submission and catering to men like asian women. Many felt that as black women we had our own great qualities.......we are hard working, independent and resourceful....

I agree but still these are not "feminine"qualities. Men are expected to be hardworking and resourceful. Its being the opposite of this that makes women attractive to men. If you are everything he is, then for them its like dating another man! Maybe these qualities would be useful when you become a wife and mother and have to juggle a heavy schedule. But in the " mating dance" it doesn't work.

Some of us are going to have to cry on que like an actress. LOLOLOL If you can't I would just say try to not retaliate.....I know thats hard but practice.

PioneerValleyWoman said...

I just had an interesting conversation with a church friend yesterday. We were at a secular professional event, although we know each other primarily through church programming.

She is highly connected to the bishop's office as a layperson, and the bishop (a white man) has always been supportive of her work.

The points you raise here are highlighted by specific stories she has shared with me.

These stories have shown her the way some white women try to sabotage black women who prove to be normal and commonplace--feminine, attractive and desirable:

1. She went to a church event some time ago; she brought her cousin's young daughter, a biracial girl who is much lighter than she is.

One of the white women, who has known her for years, went around telling everyone that she must have had an out of wedlock child that she tells no one about.

All this, just because the little girl came with her and looked just like her. As a black woman, the only explanation had to be that she had an out-of-wedlock child. Mind you, this is a serious-minded woman who was never going to have an out-of-wedlock child by any man.

2a. She recently became engaged to a priest, a man of color from overseas. The bishop (a white man) was instrumental in them getting together. He is delighted and will perform the ceremony.

Among some, who see that her engagement is normal, commonplace or even admirable, now put her in another category--she is in a whole other universe "up there."

Among others, who know it is normal, commonplace or even admirable, just can't stand it. Some of these white women priests can't stand her now. Other white women are brazen (and slutty) in coming onto her fiance right in front of her face!

But she is handling it gracefully, not telling them anything, just quietly going about her business, asserting her status.

2b. Other white women colleagues over the years have seen her positive interactions with white men in their office as surprising and shocking. How is it that these nice young white men want to chat with her and go out to lunch with her?

3. In her fiance's (primarily white) church, some of the church members seem really annoyed that she is a together woman, owns her own home and he is marrying her.

All of a sudden, benefits he should have gotten for himself, which were negotiated with him when he wasn't engaged, should be renegotiated, because she is now in the picture and it is quite obvious he no longer needs them, because of her.

Anonymous said...

"Many felt that as black women we had our own great qualities.......we are hard working, independent and resourceful....

I agree but still these are not "feminine"qualities."


I agree with you.

Many BW are just too masculine in their behavior. Real men don't want masculine women.

BM tolerate masculine BW because they need them to help carry the weight. But as soon as BM become successful they want the feminine, helpless white and Asian women too. If they choose a BW, she will be the feminine type not the loud, neck-rolling, aggressive, sour-faced woman that too many BW take pride in being.

The same goes for education. BW think that they can get white men with their college degrees. Yet many Asian women who get quality WM do not have college degrees. BW should get as much education as possible, but degrees are not the key to getting a husband.

Don't flaunt the degrees; that is a turn off to many men. Real men want a woman who is attractive, interesting, charming, well-spoken and well-rounded, not a female Albert Einstein.

Jacque said...

I know that black women come with many beautiful hues and features. I want the rest of the world to get that same memo.....I never criticized her looks...She's plain old gorgeous. I take issue with the REACTION to her look and her intelligence as if it is unique beauty when we ALL know she is on the beautiful black women's spectrum. It' like saying "You are very pretty for a black African girl...here's the crown".

She deserved that crown anyway.No question.


Halima said...

Jacque I have a problem with your position. You said she is like a white girl with a tan, this means that you feel that feature wise she doesnt look 'black', yet this woman looks to me like a typical 'greater bantu' african looking woman and in fact to me bears a striking resemblance to the famous nigeran actress Genevive Nnaji see link below


Leila - Miss Universe, has a broad nose, african almond shaped eyes, a typical african round face. she is dark skinned. the major thing about Leila -Miss universe is that her features are perfectly balanced and her face has dozens of planes which bounce of the light to flattering effect. Is this what you mean by white girl? are you saying black women cannot have perfectly balanced features and that this is a white trait?

I shudder to imagine what some of you think an authentic black woman look like!

Lara said...

There are so many black women who inadvertently feel jealous(who are unaware of their jealousy because it comes so naturally) of other black women whenever good things happen to them.
And now Jacque is singing another tune when she says" I take issue with the Reaction to her look and intelligence as if is unique beauty when we all know she is on the beautiful black woman's spectrum..."

Jacque: Miss Angola was participating in the Miss Universe contest, not you .
Get off your horse and stop hating.
Too many black women have internalize the idea that black women are not really beautiful or good enough to be taken seriously on the international scene.And they always have an explanation to give whenever good things happen to black women.
People react to Miss Universe's beauty how they please. You have no power over that.
I hope you can look in the mirrow and feel good about yourself regardless of what other women around you look like.
This is the essence of being a woman:
Feel good about yourself,
Feel beautiful,
Love and treat yourself well,

Learn to groom yourself well,
Feel exquisitely feminine
and love being a woman...

then you will not be jealous when another prety face walks by, because you will know that she does not have anything over you, because you are beautiful too, and everyone will see and know this...

Anonymous said...

Lara: "There are so many black women who inadvertently feel jealous(who are unaware of their jealousy because it comes so naturally) of other black women whenever good things happen to them."

You are so right Lara.

Jealousy is so automatic with BW. Instead of feeling happy that a BW was chosen from among many beautiful women to wear the crown, BW have to find excuses for why she won.

Miss Universe in no way looks like a white woman to me. In fact, if she were lighter she would still look like a BW. Have you ever seen an African Albino? Even with no pigment, they still look like black people. I am lighter than Ms Universe with an oval face and features that are described as "chiseled" and yet no one has ever mistaken me for a white woman with a tan.

What is different about Ms Universe, as compared to too many BW, is that she is slim (not skinny) wears flattering makeup and hairstyles and clearly takes care of and likes herself.

If so many BW were not obese, their natural beauty would shine through as well. Excess weight distorts a woman's face and body. If Ms Angola were obese would anyone think that she looks like a white woman with a deep tan? I don't think so. Too may BW accept that BW are not naturally slim, beautiful and feminine and that's why they can't accept someone like Ms Angola as a BW.

BW who are jealous of Ms Universe, why not use her as an inspiration. Lose the excess weight, exercise to get a toned sexy body, wear figure flattering clothes and learn to apply makeup to enhance your natural features, not to look like someone else. Accept that you are beautiful in you own way and stop comparing yourself to other women of any race.

Jacque said...

I hate to say this ...but you guys are TOTALLY missing my point. I have no reason to be jealous of anyone I am gorgeous and accomplished myself. MY POINT IS THIS: I WANT TO SEE MORE CROWNS (Not that we need them) ON MORE BROWN/BLACK WOMEN HEADS! That is it!I was NEVER negative towards Ms Universe. I was NEGATIVE to the REACTION of a western state of mind (white supremacist) ABOUT her win.
There have been other Miss Universes of color. To me, they all tend to look similar. All the women in the competitions tend to lokk similar. Get it? My point is more of a womanist veiw of believing that imposing beauty standards is a type of oppresssion anyway. There is one type of beauty for the west. But Black women have more examples of a BROADER sense of what beauty is.
I never criticized the woman just the racket.

shan said...

Lara, I agree with you 100%. It's like jealousy is a black woman's rite of passage. Then, bw tend to be very vocal with their jealousy which comes off as very unattractive.

Jacque, Is a white woman's looks the default look that if a black woman doesn't look like the stereotype of being fat, with weave then she looks white? Get off your high horse of hate and jump onto the high horse of love. This is what disturbs me about black women. We will complain about a nonblack, or biracial woman getting this type of attention but as soon as it goes to a black woman then all hate breaks loose.

Foodhedonist said...

@ Jacquie,

1. Ms. Angola is a brown-skinned African woman.

2. Believe it or not, other bw have recently won this competition. Some of them are a deeper brown than Ms. Angola.
Here is Wendy Fitzwilliam, Miss Universe (Trinidad and Tobago), 1998

The very next year, another BW won - Ms. Zimbabwe


I agree with the other commenters that this criticism is probably coming from an unhealthy place.

Halima said...

Jacque peace to you sister, but that was a low blow to say that Miss Angola was a white girl with a tan. she is a typical african, a beautiful one at that and wether we like it or not beauty competitions are about those rare beauties in every category. yet her rare beauty doesnt take her out of the black group. i would do cartwheels when a natural haird bw wins, but one step at a time!

LL2 said...

Whether or not she looks like the average black woman, this kind of behavior and thinking among black women has to stop. There is no excuse for it, not even if Miss Angola looked like Beyonce. It only exposes us for the insecure persons we are. Some black women do receive special treatment because of their looks, ethnicity, and/or degree of assimilation into white/European culture. So what? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

First, LIFE IS NOT FAIR, PERIOD. If anyone hasn't realized that by now, they need to. It will make their lives a lot less stressful. Second, why would a black woman ever be upset to see another black woman being treated well? I really don't get that at all. No one can demean us and our looks if we genuinely embrace our own beauty.

@Lara You right, it is jealously borne out of deep insecurity. A lot of black women claim to be confident but they really aren't. It usually shows in their behavior towards other black women.

@Foodhedonist Miss Universe 1999 is from Botswana, not Zimbabwe. I know because I was watching when she won and she is my favorite.

trish said...

For the record Miss Trinidad and Toabago has won the Miss Universe contest twice. First in 1977, and then in 1998, both women were black. Miss Trinidad and Tobago also won Miss World in 1986, another black woman.

Foodhedonist said...

@ LL2, I stand corrected. Yes, she is from Botswana, and I should have remembered that because I was also watching that contest live.

Neecy said...

I cannot believe that Miss France had the audacity to proclaim that she did not deserve the title b/c "no one knew her". Utterly ridiculous the lengths people go to, to try to malign Black women and make us out to be undeserving of anything we had to work for.

shan said...

Neecy, yes many do that but bw should stay on top of their game and continue to win so that they can shut their mouths and get used to it. The beauty of black women is a threat to many. Latinas have dominated the Miss Universe pageant from 2001-2010 mostly and no one complained.

I have participated in pageants and modeling competitions myself when I was younger, and what I've noticed is that if a nonblack woman is "top" then other women will talk about her but they don't seem to be afraid to compete against her. Now if that "top" woman is black, for some reason, it's like they get silent and introverted. It's a phenomenom to watch their behaviors as if black women have some sort of magical powers or something. The attitude towards a top bw is totally different. Are we that intimidating? It's almost to the point of disturbing.......

Matriot said...

I have another major black queen this year to add to your list: Guinevere from the tv show Merlin (a hugely popular British show that's syndicated in 183 countries). Additionally, it's marketed as a children's show, which sends a powerful message to kids (and adults) all the world that black queens are NORMAL, despite what the vocal minority of racist fans have to say about it.

As you can imagine, there are quite a few white female fans who are getting aneurysms at the mere thought of this woman marrying the blue-eyed, blonde King Arthur. They try to hide their racism with the argument that casting Gwen as black is "ahistorical" (since Gwen is usually cast as a blue-eyed blonde in Arthurian films) and saying that she has "no chemistry" with Arthur (which is code for "this interracial couple makes me feel uncomfortable and threatened because he's giving this uppity Negress the keys to the kingdom! And how dare she act as if she's actually worthy of it."). However, they have no qualms about the ahistoricity of stoves or weapons or clothing dyes that didn't exist in the 6th century (yet blacks and Arabs DID exist in Europe since time immemorial). And they LOVE the psychopathic, manipulative Morgana (Gwen's former frenemy, now a full-time witch intent on destroying Camelot) because she fits the usual mold of model-gorgeous-white-woman, so her heart of stone is taken in stride.

Anyhow, here are pictures of Guinevere:

(Queen Guinevere)

(QG - The funny version)

(Angel Coulby)

Matriot said...

Oh yeah, and in reference to what another poster mentioned upthread about Miss Angola being a white woman dipped in chocolate (therefore not meaningfully disrupting the hegemony of Eurocentric physical features as the ultimate beauty standard), while I realize that the actress portraying Guinevere is a biracial woman and as such has some light(er) skin privilege (a la Halle Berry), she is read as black (a la Obama), with all that it entails from her racist haters. What's wonderfully subversive about the show is that although the haters try to place her in the Jezebel category (cuz someone like King Arthur would only go for someone like her if she's a stereotypical temptress, so their logic goes...eye roll), she doesn't fit ANY of the black female stereotypes, which is sooooooo refreshing. She is noble and nurturing, but not to the point of being a Mammy (even though she starts off as a maidservant); she is feisty, but not to the point of being a Sapphire; she exudes sex appeal, but not to the point of being a Jezebel. She is an all-around queen in every sense.

I hope this doesn't come off as a threadjack. I see so many parallels between Miss Angola's rise to the Miss Universe crown, and the current (and downright radical, given the place Arthurian legend holds in the British collective imagination) adaptation of Guinevere's rise to queen of Camelot. The hate-filled propagandists are losing!